Natus Vincere, BIG shine as IEM Rio begins

Natus Vincere and BIG won twice Monday to move within one victory of making the playoffs as the Intel Extreme Masters Rio event got underway in Rio de Janeiro.

The $250,000 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament features 16 teams divided into two groups for the double-elimination opening phase. Each team’s first match consisted of a single map, while all other matches are best-of-three.

The group winners qualify for the playoff semifinals. The group runners-up move into the playoff quarterfinals as high seeds, and the third-place finishers in each group start the playoff quarterfinals as low seeds.

The single-elimination playoffs start April 21, with the quarterfinals and semifinals best-of-three and the grand final on April 23 best-of-five.

The tournament champion will earn $100,000 and a berth in the $1 million Intel Extreme Masters Cologne scheduled for July 25-Aug. 6 in Germany. The Rio runner-up will receive $42,000.

In Group A, Natus Vincere opened with a 16-9 win over The MongolZ on Mirage, then swept Ninjas in Pyjamas 2-0, prevailing 16-10 on Mirage and 16-13 on Ancient.

Russia’s Denis “electroNic” Sharipov logged 47 kills for NaVi against NiP, while Ukraine’s Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev produced a team-best plus-13 kill-death differential. Denmark’s Kristian “k0nfig” Wienecke led NiP with 41 kills.

Also in Group A, BIG routed MOUZ 16-6 on Overpass, then pulled out a 2-1 win over Heroic. After Heroic took Vertigo 16-14, BIG pulled level with a 16-11 victory on Nuke, then won the decisive third map, Overpass, 16-6.

Karim “Krimbo” Moussa led BIG’s all-German roster with 65 kills and a plus-23 K-D differential. Rene “TeSeS” Madsen amassed 59 kills and a plus-3 K-D differential for Heroic’s all-Danish squad.

In other first-round Group A matches, Heroic dumped 9INE 16-12 on Ancient, and Ninjas in Pyjamas topped Imperial Esports 16-5 on Mirage.

The MongolZ came back to defeat Imperial Esports 2-1 in a Group A lower-bracket quarterfinal. After Imperial won Overpass 16-3, The MongolZ captured Inferno 16-12 and Mirage 16-14.

9INE eliminated MOUZ 2-1 in a Group A lower-bracket quarterfinal, sandwiching a 16-11 victory on Vertigo and a 16-10 win on Nuke around a 16-9 defeat on Ancient.

In Group B, only the first round was contested on Monday. FaZe Clan clobbered 9z Team 16-3 on Overpass, FURIA Esports nipped Fnatic 19-15 in overtime on Ancient, OG got past Team Vitality 19-17 in overtime on Overpass and Cloud9 cruised past MIBR 16-8 on Ancient.

The Tuesday schedule:
Group A lower-bracket semifinals
Ninjas in Pyjamas vs. 9INE
Heroic vs. The MongolZ

Group B upper-bracket semifinals
FaZe Clan vs. FURIA Esports
OG vs. Cloud9

Group B lower-bracket quarterfinals
9z Team vs. Fnatic
Team Vitality vs. MIBR

Intel Extreme Masters Rio prize pool
1. $100,000, berth in IEM Cologne
2. $42,000
3-4. $20,000
5-6. $10,000
7-8. $6,000
9-12. $5,000
13-16. $4,000
17-20. no prize money — Imperial Esports, MOUZ

–Field Level Media

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